tv Inside Story 2019 Ep 106 Al Jazeera April 16, 2019 8:32pm-9:00pm +03
defeats. in libya the u.n. recognized government has launched an air strike targeting a camp of fighters loyal to. it happened in the outskirts of the capital tripoli the government there has pushed that state of emergency to the highest level as they defend the city from fighters backing have to. demonstrators in tripoli are accusing france of interfering in libya's affairs they think france is supporting the military operation aimed at capturing the capital. those are the latest headlines on inside story is coming up next then it's the news hour see you then.
does the west how blood on its hands in yemen do you have it is that just the sand in their attic coalition is using american and french weapons on civilians have war crimes been committed and is the international community turning a blind eye this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program. four years of war in yemen have killed thousands of people and created what the u.n. say is the world's worst humanitarian crisis new evidence is linking some of those deaths to weapons made in the west at least ministry reports says arms sold to saudi arabia and the u.a.e.
may have been used against civilians investigative journalists in the u.s. and france analyzed the classified document which was prepared for the french government is contradicted public claims from friends and the u.s. that their weapons was only used for defensive purposes and not on the frontline many nations including france are part of a u.n. treaty banning the sale of weapons that fuel human rights violations and war crimes these are the main findings of the document that sandy led campaign in north yemen relies on three types of aircraft american british and european fighters. it also reveals that french made weapons artillery tanks ships and fighter bomber jets may have been years in the war it says assad is and iraqis have used french warships to enforce the blockade or the port of her data french long range artillery and armored vehicles capable of firing into northern yemen are stationed along the side
of border hundreds of thousands of civilians live under the threat of these arms between march two thousand and sixteen and december last year thirty five civilians including children were killed in areas within the range of those weapons the report criticizes the kingdom's military capabilities in yemen it says the saudis are operating in effectively and their efforts to secure their border with yemen has been a failure. so let's bring in our guest joining us from london mohammad jimmy who is a member of the yemeni national dialogue conference peter is a senior research in the arms transfers and the military expenditure program at the stockholm international peace research institute and he joins us by skype and in boston we have link on a former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats on the u.s.
national intelligence council welcome to you all mohammed the classified documents of the french military intelligence along with the investigative journalism done in friends and in the u.s. revere is what the american and french officials have been denying for many years that the weapons that they are selling to the u.a.e. and saudi arabia are not for offensive purposes purposes in yemen. of course we've been listening to all of these statements for a long time from both countries on from their cows run that all these weapons are used in yemen or by the borders of saudi arabia with yemen. in according to the policies followed in these so countries of thirty countries including they were ok. the problem is it's not that these weapons are used in ball size or in in the border by yemen and saudi idea about
there are also weapons came from other countries such as iran as the united nation mentioned in many statements that the meanings of the weapons found in yemen and and some parts of saudi arabia are similar to the iranian missile manufactured in iran so. of course we are going to listen to statements denying using these weapons but i think most of these statements are encouraged by or. they are because of the a strong relationship between so they had to be a and they were as from one side on between saudi arabia and counts from the other side so i think the political economy relationship between these countries and start at a b. and m. and it is their priority in front of the politicians in these countries
and not. the reports by human rights organizations he said this was supposed to be a highly classified. documents burned for the senior members of the french government now that he has been leaked how damaging is it to the french in particular. i think the first thing to say is that the document basically confirms what many others have already said before what images from the war has already shown us before several n.g.o.s and also for example the panel of experts that has been appointed by the united nations to investigate what's happening in the war in yemen they've already confirmed what is happening there and that the weapons which are being used they are primarily from the west from the u.s. from the u.k. and also from france in a number of part of europe in states so in that sense their report is not new the new thing about it is of course that it is very clear that the french government
has asked its intended ted has had a chance surface to supply such a report and they have received it they have clear indications that french weapons are being used in the war or very close to the war and still there haven't really taken any action such as for example germany has done because germany has decided to put an arms embargo on saudi arabia for the time being and so the question will be will this report be sufficient let's say ammunition for the n.g.o.s to force the french government to rethink arm sales or policy to saudi arabia glenn is a support likely to. spark more fireworks in the united states of america which is the main supply of weapons the saudis over the an artiste. well it may
have some effect i mean the report really is a bit like discovering that gambling is occurring in a casino in that sense it's there's no surprise whatsoever it also is i was interested to see that the french functioned very similarly to the united states which is you stated earlier our colleague of ours stated a moment ago that the economic interests were predominant and i would push back a little bit on that if the political decision were taken that it were not in the interests of france or or the u.k. or the united states to provide weapons then then there would be a change in policy so i would say the political military reasoning takes priority first but the economic one of selling weapons is is quite important then to expect that weapons not be used and not go astray in a civil conflict and in
a war setting is almost impossible to conceive so the challenge then becomes for the governments always how do we stop if possible use by unintended parties and that's almost impossible so there is the legal obligation to try to and then there is the political obligation to try to appear to be stopping that and then there's the public relations one of what do we do want to come in fact this is occurring that's where we are now doesn't this report pose many challenges for the government of president obama so hard to his back by the standards of them as he is and some of those weapons were used in military bases in areas controlled by the government so how do you could just further raise the narrative in different parts of yemen that he is responsible for what is happening to the civilians. well i think it is very complicated when you talk about who is responsible in that area
because that somehow the government sent some indications that it is not responsible for the actions of some military groups of some militants in down or in some areas in the south because they are not under its control but on the other hand of facially they are part of the of the government of the government police or security forces or of the government armed forces but i think it is not to me to decide is that are not responsible for these actions in. the war fields but the problem in yemen and the problem of the civilians in men is that all these concerns about weapons sales to put that aside at abia or to the in monarchies this
is not the consensus in the yemen in yemen but the whole concern in yemen is to end that warm and i think. the negotiation is face and i very difficult time nowadays because both parties are not willing to go to negotiation and i think that with these as specially when they refused for the last few weeks as they stated they defused to withdraw their troops from what data are called in course of agreement peter when you look at the details of the of the a confidential document it talks about laser guided missiles provided by the west to the saudi's use in that attack some of them were responsible for the of the death of civilians first vessels taking part in the naval blockade which the us saudis are saying is crucial to prevent any smuggling of weapons into yemen but the report is saying that this is also affecting the supply of food into yemen and.
we're talking about mortars used on the border provided by the fence that targets hundreds of thousands of visitors on the border with saudi arabia is that the something that should in theory brazen international concern about the need to at least put into place new rules about war in yemen. i think that the report shows that the weapons are being used to report shows that western countries are supplying them and as a result we can conclude that its logic to ask from western concurrent current countries to either consider to stop those flows of arms to prevent the war or to have to as as one part of preventing the war in yemen will continue for a long time that's one part of it the other one is that western countries are going to use their leverage which they have because they do supply arms to saudi arabia
that they're going to use that leverage to convince saudi arabia to take a step back when it comes to the use of force to try to end this war i think there is widespread. agreement among many analysts and others that there is no military solution for the war in yemen so this is i think a very important role for the western suppliers to play here glenn do you think that this report along with the outcries of the hill rights activists and the n.g.o.s will be enough to push the americans and the french to follow sort of with the germans and impose an embargo on the arms sales society arabia the u.a.e. . no i don't think will be enough at all it is an element of additional pressure potentially useful or with some impact but from my own experience and experience i think of every american official human rights organizations can have and influence but they generally will not be decisive added however in the us context now to
the. strong anger at saudi arabia because of the. assassination then there comes to be a real possibility of u.s. policy change in the congress has voted in a rare step in the last two years to rebuke and repudiate donald trump's position of unvarnished support for saudi arabia and that makes it possible that additional measures to constrain arms sales or or restrain saudi arabia's conduct of the war in yemen becomes more likely but the human rights issue will contribute to that but won't be decisive mohammed is also an interesting different angle to the story in that report which says that the saudi led military campaign a guy in yemen is a series of blunders and mistakes and that is an example of that with as you said
a month a few months ago that the push to take over her day that would be just days months later it's still under the control of the earth is. yeah of course i mean the bottom of what they came to let's say close to its end but because of the pressure the international pressure under you and pressure on the saudi that quite a show and they stopped the battle and then won with that with these i mean the government representatives went to that with these to stoke on for negotiation we had now a very clear agreement. for boss size to withdraw the troops the government from the border of one day down the city or four days and that is from inside the city and from the area surrounding the port of the city but unfortunately and no step has been taken fed up in implementing this agreement and there are some sort
of indications that. the situation is very dangerous it might be it might come back to war because the so-called maggoty mint is frozen and. is refused according to some officers and they were not in the united nations refused to withdraw their troops from their city or for data and according to of cause the government through was not withdrawn from the border of the city well there are huge differences in the way about how to move forward it comes to the implementation of the landmark deal which was signed install computer i mean some of the details of the reports are should be really humiliating for the saudis and particularly given that this is a pause coming from the french ministry intelligence it says that despite the massive military hardware amassed by the saudis only its border there are still prone to spectacular attacks by the who the fighters who have less advanced weapons compared to what the saudis have. that is completely correct the images which we
have already seen elsewhere on the internet and elsewhere also show that duties at times have succeeded in defeating the often very advanced military equipment that saudi arabia has and so that raises real questions about to which extent saudi arabia is able to use these weapons to derek their their total and that's not saying there but most performance levels and this has been very long the case that is has been questioned in the case of saudi arabia i think the story for the united arab emirates is slightly different i think there are somewhat more pointers which indicate that they have learned a lot more over the past decade or so as they have already been in the past been more active in using the fast arsenals they've built up glenn give us an idea about how the middle industrial complex works in the u.s. along with the decision making process of the highest levels of the white house how
it comes to sending what selling weapons to the u.s. to saudi arabia which is one of the biggest buyers of those weapons in the wells is it a purely commercial thing that is number one priority for the military establishment order to iran as another factor could be one of the main reasons why the other american administration is saying you know a lot because we don't want the iranians to further expand their influence in the mideast therefore there's just. make sure that the weapons continue to flow to saudi arabia. well all of the above before i comment on that i just like to observe that the saudi military has been given i think an impossible task and is doing it incompetently. to solve a civil war to a to foster civil reconciliation is is not something that any military can do and that's the task they've been assigned and having a sophisticated weapons does not a an effective military or political policy make in the us context.
geo strategic issues will are the ultimate. decisive point so if the united states government the white house essentially decides that a specific issues in the vital national merican american interest then arms sales will or will not occur. barring that the economic driver of foreign military sales will be allowed to play out and will predominate so yemen if from the united states' perspective is a significant issue but not a vital national concern and so arms sales are from that perspective a good thing and will continue but the this whole thing is more of a small angle in a big picture which is about millions of yemenis who have been evicted of their own villages entire neighborhoods destroyed thousands of people killed
a day situation which has been described by the un as the was humanitarian crises in the wells and you're talking about a political impasse in the country do you have any hope for a future reconsideration between the warring factions in yemen. well it's difficult unfortunately to answer this questions because at the moment both sides the government and the forty's think they are very strong to continue fight and i think as the martin because yesterday mentioned that it's impossible to go to a politic a new push a share in the form and eliminating stockholm agreement which is unfortunately not implemented until this moment. their problem is there many is inside the countries they are facing death from both sides we do not have to
ignore the. landmine killed hundreds of people and another crime committed also by the forty's which is. child soldiering according to whom. and other organizations other who morass of nice ations. there are also of course the. the. bombardment is doing a very very bad it has already by the way impact on the natives on the yemenis and the civilians exactly if i may just step in a particularly comes of the strikes the force is talking about twenty four thousand strikes last since the start of the conflict in two thousand and fifteen creating unprecedented damage to different areas across yemen peter issued a report a cypriot few weeks ago about the arms sales in the gulf region where saudi arabia
the u.a.e. and other countries are some of the world biggest arms importers if the if the trend continues isn't this something which is likely to further just create instability in the whole region. i think the trend right now is that as humane mentions saudi arabia the u.a.e. also qatar and even kuwait i too are and will remain major arms we sippin it's and i think that raises some real questions about what these arms are supposed to do in the region are they going to contribute to further war such as we've seen in yemen or are maybe a bit further away and in in libya to convey contribute to third attentions which you shouldn't forget that iran has a very different position it doesn't import so much it has a different way of fighting its warts how do these weapons really contribute to
stability in the region or they do or do to do x. the opposite what are the risks involved and here it's important that the exporting states whether they are the us from the u.k. but also russia china how they actually embedded sits arms exports into sound foreign and security popal policies and how they explain what they ok want to do is arms in the region glenn you spoke. previously about how geo political considerations pay huge part in the decision making process how it comes to yemen it was crucial for the american policy in the past because of the presence of al qaeda in that radio peninsula but now when you talk to many enemies they would tell you look despite the fact that our country is being destroyed we're facing a tragedy people are being killed no one seems to care because simply we don't have oil and gas like neighboring countries has we have those reserves you bet the world would come all together and solve this crisis this is an indication of the world
has lost a small compass when it comes to oil i think rice is. well i don't know if it's lost its moral compass i don't think there was a moral compass to begin with. unfortunately not a cynic but server of of of behavior there's a larger issue than anything that we've been talking about we've been touching upon a little bit and that is independent prior to the arms sales crises that come from the arms sales or from the military decisions based on political decisions for at least fifteen years the u.s. intelligence community and i think all knowledgeable observers have been. astoundingly alarmed in trying to warn about the fact that yemen had a dysfunctional state is an artificial state is a society that was on the brink of. literal collapse there's not enough
water for the population to survive on services forget about trash removal or something like this what that one thinks about in the west when one talks about services vital services for survival have been beyond the ability of the dysfunctional state so even prior to saudi arabia and iran and now using the country for a proxy war the country was on the brink of mass starvation and collapse that underlays all of these problems and the war just makes all that even worse a grim reminder indeed of the situation in yemen and how long the yemenis house to go before this comes to an and glen kong piece of as a man how much you may thank you very much indeed for your contribution to the program. thank you for watching you can see the program again at a time by visiting our website call for further discussion go to our facebook page thus facebook dot called for us last a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter. a.j.
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